Week in Summit: Quandary access road dispute and a mysterious double murder
For some folks it just isn’t enough to own a beautiful piece of property in the mountains; no, they need to keep others away from what they’ve got.
Such is the case unfolding about 7 miles south of Breckenridge, near Quandary Peak, between one man, real estate broker Greg McCallum, and pretty much all of his neighbors.
The argument centers on whether neighbors, outdoor enthusiasts and the public can access national forest lands by using an old road that runs through property McCallum bought in 2011. The neighbors and others say, look, we’ve walked and skied the road for generations and we think it should remain accessible to everyone. McCallum and his lawyer say, no, it’s private and anyway there are other ways to get into the woods.
McCallum has gone as far as placing obstacles — a gate, a pickup — on the road, which he has, in sometimes intimidating ways, dissuaded people from using.
The quarrel has changed the character of the neighborhood, known as the McDill Placer subdivision.
“It’s dividing the neighborhood between McCallum and everyone else,” said Marty Eisenberg, 74, a full-time resident in the subdivision since 2003 and second-home owner before that.
The county, which supports public access, sent McCallum a cease-and-desist order demanding that he remove all obstructions on the road by Wednesday, Dec. 24, or they would be removed. But instead of removing anything Wednesday, the county staff decided to give McCallum more time after learning he’d hired a new lawyer.
Assistant county manager Thad Noll said the issue might be best settled in court, and one of the sides could be filing soon.
UNSOLVED DOUBLE MURDER
On the night of Jan. 6, 1982, two local women were murdered in eerily similar circumstances and, adding to the families’ tragedy, the cases remain unsolved.
But for 26 years, Breckenridge private investigator Charlie McCormick has studied the evidence, trying to figure out who killed the women.
Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer, 29, was last seen at about 8 p.m. hitchhiking from Breckenridge to her home in Alma. Historical data for Breck shows the low approached 15 degrees, but McCormick remembered it as well below zero.
The next day, after her husband reported her missing, a search party found her body just south of the parking lot at the summit of Hoosier Pass. She had been shot, and an autopsy determined she bled and froze to death.
In the days following Oberholtzer’s murder, her belongings were found scattered along Highway 285 between Fairplay and Como.
Then, 21-year-old Annette Kay Schnee was reported missing. She was last seen at a Breckenridge pharmacy the same night Oberholtzer disappeared.
A 9-year-old boy found Schnee’s body six months later while fishing in a creek near Fairplay. She too had been shot and had bled and froze to death. On her foot was the match of an orange bootie found near Oberholtzer’s body.
Now, McCormick and another investigator hope that presenting their work to the public might generate a new lead in the cases. They plan two presentations, one in Fairplay, Jan. 13, the other in Frisco, Jan. 14. Visit summitdaily.com or rockymountaincoldcase.com for more information.
JAIL FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Wanting to celebrate a very green Christmas, or perhaps wanting to allay any notion on the community’s part that she might be feeling remorse for allegedly stealing $415,000 from the Summit Association of Realtors, Sue Frank made continuing efforts after bonding out of county jail to prevent the tracing and return of the missing funds, some of which are currently outside of the United States.
That’s according to investigators who re-arrested the association’s former CEO Monday, Dec. 22, this time on a no-bond warrant.
At a hearing on Dec. 23 in Breckenridge, the charges against Frank were listed as one count of theft, $100,000 to $1,000,000; seven counts of identity theft; seven counts of forgery; and seven counts of criminal impersonation.
Frank’s passport was previously seized because she is a potential flight risk. Her next court appearance is set for Jan. 5.
MISCREANTS GO MAINSTREAM
Last week, Breckenridge Ski Resort celebrated an anniversary: It was 30 years ago that it became the first major Colorado resort to adopt snowboarding.
Breck wasn’t the state’s first ski area to take a chance on the new and seemingly dangerous sport. (That honor goes to the late Berthoud Pass Ski Area.) Still, it was ahead of the curve. Shortly after snowboarders were allowed on the mountain, resort management began working to attract the new sport’s best talent with the sort of big events that are now commonplace at Breck.
For Tricia Byrnes, who in the late ’80s was a 13-year-old rider with a taste for competition, those early years at Breck led to a pro career of more than 20 years, including a spot on the second U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team in 2002. It also led to her lifelong love affair with Breckenridge.
“It was just radical, to pull out that old word,” she said. “It was a counterculture time in the sport, and it was cool to see a gigantic resort like Breckenridge embrace that.”
For longtime locals like CJ Mueller, a record-setting speed skier and Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inductee, snowboarding’s first years in Breck weren’t entirely rose-colored. He’s lived in Summit County since 1970, and shortly after snowboarding arrived, the sport felt like more of a rebellious lifestyle than a serious discipline.
“When it first started, a lot of the kids who were coming up to do it were into the ‘rebel without a clue’ thing,” Mueller says. “They were just into being rebels more than they might’ve been into snowboarding itself. But that’s really changed over the years, and it’s changed for the better.”
This story includes reporting by Summit Daily staff writers.
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